All the Marbles: One woman’s epic quest for health insurance (Season One, episode 2)


marbles-2614142_640Laura Derrick takes a drug that costs more than $500,000 a year.

So when her family was going to lose their insurance, she made crazy sacrifices… and changed the course of history.
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This is Water, and it sucks. Let’s talk. (Season One, episode 1)


When I first started talking about doing a show about the cost of health care… everybody had a story. Including me.

It’s like that famous speech by the writer David Foster Wallace called This is Water. It starts with a joke about two young fish swimming along. An older fish passes by and says, “Morning boys. How’s the water?”

He goes, then one young fish turns to the other and says, “What the hell is water?”

Sound familiar? The cost of health care is like water. We’re all surrounded by it. We don’t even see it anymore.
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How one drug got its $500,000 price tag (with 99 Percent Invisible)

The answer involves a suburban housewife, a 1970s TV star, and a Las Vegas maker of popcorn and nacho cheese sauce. Also: Wall Street.

Produced with our friends at 99 Percent Invisible.

Many thanks to Abbey Meyers, Joshua Schein, and Nora Guthrie.

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About Us

A podcast about the cost of health care, coming November 2018

The spiraling cost of medical care shapes people’s lives: The jobs we’re afraid to leave because of insurance, the risk that a trip to the doc could end in bankruptcy. It’s not healthy.

This is my story too, and that’s why I’m making this podcast. Here’s what I’ve got in mind.

An Arm and a Leg will be entertaining, empowering— even useful. As a reporter, I’ll bring my skill at finding and telling revealing, surprising stories. But the project’s big focus— since I’m in this mess too—is connecting and problem-solving, together.
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Thank you, Chicago AWESOME Foundation!

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Dan gratefully accepting support from the Chicago AWESOME Foundation’s trustees. (They kept the giant $1,000-bill prop but sent Dan home with actual cash money. Thank you!)

The AWESOME Foundation is … a really, really lovely thing, powered by a simple idea, a website, and a bunch of wonderful people.

The idea: If ten people in a given place all agree to put up a hundred bucks a month, suddenly they’re a foundation! They can make thousand-dollar grants. As of this writing, people do this in 96 places around the world.

Including Chicago, where the local chapter’s trustees gave this project a thousand dollars last night. THANK YOU SO MUCH!  We will be putting that money to good use.

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